In Major First, Americans Will Drink More Water Than Soda In 2016, But Are We Healthier?

We’re heading in the right track

Source: Creative Commons

For years now, you’ve been hearing it from the CDC, public schools, and First Lady Michelle Obama: drink less soda. For the first time, it appears Americans are listening to that advice. Market research firm Euromonitor crunched the numbers and found that Americans are projected to buy more water than soda in 2016, at an average of 27.4 and 26.2 gallons, respectively.

According to ABC News, Americans have been inching their way toward a healthier lifestyle for some time now. Last year, for instance, U.S. consumers bought only a third of a gallon more soda than water. That’s a huge difference when you consider people were buying 1.9 gallons more soda than water per person in 2014.

Researchers haven’t agreed on what factor could be driving this trend, though it’s likely a combination of things. Bloomberg News reports increasing bouts of tap water contamination (ex. Flint, Michigan) have scared people into stocking up on bottled water. Chris Hogan, a vice president at the International Bottled Water Association, points to more complicated trends, telling ABC News that high-profile contamination cases "may play a role in some people’s concerns more recently, but this is an ongoing shift that’s been in the works for several years.”

But does that necessarily mean we’re getting healthier as a nation? When digesting these facts, it’s important to remember that bottled water as a consumer product is a pretty recent addition to supermarket shelves. According to NPR, Perrier hit the market in 1977, but the water we drink today out of perfectly clear, lightweight bottles didn’t take off until the early ‘90s.

Americans might be buying more water, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re drinking it; and landfills accumulating more plastic is certainly not healthy for the environment when we could be drinking high-quality, practically free water straight from the tap. On top of that, CNBC recently reported that American obesity rates have hit an all-time high, with nearly 40 percent of U.S. citizens battling the bulge.

So, while we may not be healthier just because we’re buying slightly more water than soda, the good news is that trends show we’re becoming more conscious of our health as a whole.

Screenshot via (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

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